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Family Recipe Friday: Edith Roberts Luck’s Pineapple Cookies

Grandma Edie's Pineapple Drop Cookies- front. (Click to enlarge.)
Grandma Edie’s Pineapple Drop Cookies- front. (Click to enlarge and see below before making.)
Grandma Edie's Pineapple Drop Cookies- back. (Click to enlarge.)
Grandma Edie’s Pineapple Drop Cookies- back. (Click to enlarge.)

Roberts Family, Daniel Family (Click for Family Tree)

Cooking was an integral part of the life of a farm wife. Edith Roberts McMurray Luck inherited the cooking gene from her mother, Ella V. Daniel Roberts. Edith wrote in her family stories:

Mama was an excellent cook. Nothing fancy, but just good country cooking. There was always room for another pair of legs under our table. Always enough for another mouth. I still feel I should do the same thing. Funny how these teachings stay [w]ith us. 

One of the most special stories that Edith wrote to her grandchildren was entitled, “A Winter Afternoon 1904.” Edith was just five years old, and it was amazing how she was able to so clearly remember incidents from her very early years. She reminisced:

Mother and I had had a nap and I was playing in the kitchen, while Mama was taking out of the oven huge loaves of bread and a pan of six inch high biscuits.

There must have been a dozen in this particular pan she always used for these biscuits. The fragrance from the freshly baked bread was delightful. The golden-browned tops were well greased, making them even more delicious to eat. Mother used a potato water starter. I don’t know just how she did it. I do know that sister was always warned not to upset the cup of starter on the table in the pantry. She baked once a week.

Of course, during harvest season Ellie Roberts would have been baking probably every day, as there were a lot of hired hands to feed. She would have had help though, with neighboring women coming to the Roberts farm to assist in the kitchen, and then Ellie Roberts would go to one of their farms when the threshers moved on. Add in the extra women, young girls who helped, and little children, and there were a lot of mouths to feed!

Edith continued her story:

It was about time for the kids to come home from school. If I timed it right I could stand on a chair and watch for them to leave the school grounds. We were just a quarter of a mile from the school-house. This afternoon I was standing on a chair jugging from one foot to the other with a carpet ball in my hands. A big basket of them was under the resevoir [sic]. Also near the stove was a tall can of thick cream. It was being warmed to churn the next morning. Mother had warned me to be careful. Finally, while I was shouting; “They are coming, they are coming.” she said sharply; “Edith Mae Roberts, if you drop one of those carpet balls in that cream you will get a hard spanking.” Under my breath I said; “I wish my name was not Edith Mae Roberts.” I was teased about this for years. “So you don’t want to be called Edith May Roberts huh?”

The kids came in all hot and breathless and covered with snow. All hungry as little bears. I knew mother would fix them one of those fresh biscuits and I would get half of one too, with either plum butter or apple butter on it. Delicious! I can almost taste them now.

**********************

The above recipe was a family favorite. We don’t know if it was passed down from her mother or if Edith found it elsewhere. These cookies are unique and totally delicious, especially when frozen and ‘liberated’ from the deep freeze in the midst of a hot Iowa summer without air conditioning.

Like most family recipes, it was told to the writer as Edie was cooking, and she had made the recipe so many times that she didn’t think about things like whether or not to drain the pineapple, which is likely the way to go- it will depend on the moisture in the air when you are baking, and you may need a bit of the juice. These are excellent without the nuts, too, although pecans are very good in them. If the kitchen is warm, pop the dough in the refrigerator for a bit to firm up before baking, or the cookies will spread out too much. The bottoms of these cookies brown quickly, as do the pineapple bits, so do not use a dark pan- an insulated sheet might work better, though of course such things were not available to Edith or her mother as they baked in a wood-fired stove and later Edith’s prized electric oven.  Edie always added a buttercream icing after cooling that was delicious plain or with additional crushed pineapple mixed in. The yield of 3-4 dozen was for farmhands and threshers, it seems- they are very large. Smaller cookies puff up taller and have a better icing:cooky ratio per results of many taste tests over the years.

 

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

1) Family recipe.

2) “The kids” coming home from school would have been Edith’s brother George A. Roberts, Jr. and their sister, Ethel Gay Roberts.

3) The above is not Edith’s handwriting- that was challenging to read. She typed most of her recipes but this one was written as she told it, probably sometime in the 1960s or early 70s.

 

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Sentimental Sunday: Roberts Genealogy in an Address Book

Page from an address book of Edith Roberts (McMurray) Luck, with genealogical information of family and friends.
Page from an address book of Edith (Roberts) (McMurray) Luck, with genealogical information of family and friends.

Sometimes the small ephemera left by a person can be so personal that it makes me sentimental about them and the sweet times we had together. Seeing the handwriting, seeing who is important in her life, and just noting that this was information that she thought was important enough to pass on, touches my heart. Edith (Roberts) (McMurray) Luck is a big part of why I love family history so much, so this find made me very sentimental about the times she talked about her family, and drove us all over the county to visit her cousins and elderly relatives. There was only one of the new-fangled copiers in town, and family members would not allow us to take their treasures, so my sister and I copied obituaries, letters, etc., by hand, using a purple Flair pen (the coolest thing to come out of the 60s). There are precious documents that were shared that hot Iowa summer, items that would have been lost forever had we not transcribed them in the 1960s.

Here is a transcription and some details about the persons she listed:

Grandpa Daniels  [Robert Woodson Daniels- Edith’s maternal grandfather] March 21-1862

enlisted Rocklimogen W. Vir

5’8″

Light complexion- Light hair   Grey eyes

discharged fm USA [United States Army] March 25-1865

was 23 years

Born May 26-1843

Died June 20-1922  79 years

 

Grandma Daniels [Margaret Ann Hemphill Daniels- Edith’s maternal grandmother]

Marg A.

Born Sept 25- 1839

died Dec 19- 1915   76 years

 

George Roberts [George Anthony Roberts, Edith’s father]

Born Nov 18 -1861        78 years

died April 18 -1939          5 months

0 days

 

Ella V. Daniels [Ella Viola (Daniels) Roberts, Edith’s beloved mother]

Born Oct 29 1866        55 yrs- 3 mo- 18 days

Died Jan 17 1922        56 yrs.

 

Georgie Roberts [Edith’s brother, George Anthony Roberts, Jr.]  June 30 1965 [death date]    76 [years]   -1889 [birth year]

 

Ethel Robison  [Edith’s sister, Ethel Gay Roberts, married to Bert Robison]  Jan 28 1969 [death date]  78 [years]  1891 [birth year]

 

Winnie Carson [Edith’s first cousin- Winnie Viola Walker was the daughter of Lily G. (Daniels) Walker, Edith’s mother’s sister, and married Archibald Carson (1892-1982)]   June 1997 [June 1897 was when Winnie was born- an error in Edith’s notes]

 

Hilma Stines  [Edith’s first cousin and sister of Winnie Viola Walker, both daughters of Lily G. (Daniels) Walker, Edith’s mother’s sister; married Ruben M. Stines.] Ap. 1900 [birth date either April 1900 or approximately 1900; census calculation indicates about 1902 for birth.]

 

Mrs. Annie Hunniball   [Eliza Ann Fletcher, a close friend and neighbor of Edith as an adult. Annie was born 18 Dec 1880 in Timworth, Suffolk, England, and married Albert John Hunniball (1877-1965); they never had children. As a young woman, Annie worked in one of the palaces of the British Queen.] Died 7.45 PM.

1971  Tues Jan 26- Buried

Thurs Jan 28

 

As I was typing out these names and dates, I thought it somewhat ironic that Edith would have used a page from her address book that had a place for a phone number, since telephones were unknown when some of these persons were born. But then, maybe it was not so ironic, since the lifetimes of these folks spanned a simpler time, leading up to the use of the telephone and even the automobile in the early 1900s. By 1914, the US had the most telephones per capita of any country, so even Margaret Ann (Hemphill) Daniels may have seen or used a telephone before her death in 1915, depending on when it was introduced to their rural area. What an amazing time period to have lived, from the late 1830s until the nineteen-teens and twenties. The changes in technology were just astounding during that time span.

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

1) Family treasure chest.

 

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Copyright 2013-2014 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

 
We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post, and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.

Treasure Chest Thursday: The John Roberts and Elizabeth Ann Murrell Roberts Family in 1900

The John Roberts Family, 1904.
The John Roberts Family, 1900 or 1904. (Click to enlarge.)

Eight years after their 1892 family portrait (see Treasure Chest Thursday: The John Roberts and Elizabeth Ann Murrell Family in 1892), the John S. Roberts family had another family portrait taken, this time at another ‘homeplace’ in Prairie City, Jasper County, Iowa.

Years ago I used the techniques discussed in the previous post to identify the persons in this photograph. I started with the known persons and then incorporated knowledge from other photos, censuses, etc. The date of the photo was estimated to be 1902-1903 due to the age of Edith Roberts, but since one of the babies was born in 1904, that definitely set the date later.

Here is the identification:
From left-

Mary Jane Roberts’ family: Mary Jane (Mollie J) standing holding her daughter Bernice Blount; son Samuel Harvey with hat and tie standing next to his father, Samuel H. Blount. Seated on ground in front are, from left, Florence, Helen J, and Harold M. Blount. Oldest son Harry R. is standing next to his father in a dark suit.

George A. Roberts’ family: Standing next to Harry R. Blount is Ella V. Daniels Roberts and in the (short) white dress is daughter Ethel Gay Roberts. Seated at her feet is Edith Mae Roberts. Their father George A. Roberts stands next to Ethel, with son George A. Roberts, standing next to him.

Jason Lee Roberts’ family: Oca Roberts, in a long white dress, stands next to George Roberts Jr. Her brother Guy L. Roberts stands in front of her and their father, Jason Lee Roberts. His wife Julia French Roberts stands next to him holding their baby Ralph Roberts. Sitting on the ground in front of them are, from left, Wiley Roberts, Willard Roberts, and Charley Roberts in white. The very short woman in front of Julia French is Orpha B. Roberts.

Elizabeth Ann Murrell and her husband John Roberts stand next to Julia French.

William Edward (W.E., or Ed) Roberts’ family: W.E. Roberts stands next to his father, John Roberts. His son Orville stands beside him, with the woman on the right probably Orville’s mother, Mary M. Main Roberts; his sister Edna is not seen in the picture. Seated on the ground in front of them are Maude & Clara, with Maude possibly having the lighter hair as seen in the 1892 photo.

In the last few years, we found an advertising page,

“Courtesy of
ROBERTS BROTHERS
Groceries, Bottled Gas Ranges,
Plumbing, Heating
Pumps & Windmills”

It contained the above picture and two others, with everyone identified plus information about John and Elizabeth Roberts’ lives. Sadly, the women and children were not truly identified, but it did verify that we had the families correct:

Left to right- Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Blount and family, Mr. and Mrs. George Roberts and family, Mr. and Mrs. Jason Roberts and family, Mr. and Mrs. John Roberts, Mr. and Mrs. Ed Roberts and family. This picture was taken of Mr. and Mrs. John Roberts, their children and grandchildren at their home in Prairie City in 1900 (now the Vande Kieft home). The fifth boy sitting down from the left is the Mayor of Prairie City.

The moral of the story is:

1) Use ALL your resources in a collaborative way.

2) Revisit your families- new information comes online and available every day.

 

Notes, Sources, and References:

1) Family photograph, and page from a magazine or flyer.

2) Updated 12/2/16 with corrected identification of Oca and Orpha Roberts.

3) Some sources (like the Roberts family advertisement) state the picture was taken in 1900, some state 1904. I tend to agree with the 1900 date, as Edith Roberts was born 10 October 1899, so would have been 1-1/2 or 2 when this image was taken. That seems more consistent with her size, as if the photo was from 1904, she would have been 5 years old.

01/11/2017 UPDATE: However, if the baby being held by Julia French Roberts is their son Ralph Roberts, the date of the photo would be 1904, since he was born 11 July 1903. The baby could instead be one who died very young, as there is an almost 3 year gap between Ralph and his older brother Charley. We will have to leave this mystery to the Jason Lee Roberts and Julia (French) Roberts descendants to sort out.

 

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Copyright 2014 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post, and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.

Treasure Chest Thursday: The John Roberts and Elizabeth Ann Murrell Roberts Family in 1892

 

Family of John Roberts and Elizabeth Ann Murrell Roberts- 1892.
Family of John Roberts and Elizabeth Ann Murrell Roberts- 1892. (Click to enlarge.)


Having wonderful photos is such a family treasure, but not having them labeled with who each person is can be maddening to a genealogist, plus makes them of much less interest to most other family members. A dedicated and knowledgeable sleuth can piece together information that can help to identify people and places, and help to put a family into context.

Family portraits such as the above also help to show the relationships in a family. The persons are grouped by family, with the patriarch and matriarch front and center. Usually the photo is taken on the family homeplace.

Once persons are even tentatively identified in a photo, finding other photos in the future may corroborate, as happened with this photo, or give more clues to help identify persons in other photographs.

In the above photo, the identification of the George Roberts family and John and Elizabeth Roberts is certain. The other families are identified by the family-owned picture of the three brothers and their pictures in the Jasper County history, census records to determine children and ages of each family, and family bible records. The date the picture was taken was deduced by the age of Ethel Gay Roberts, who was born Feb., 1892, and was a baby being held by her mother; her older brother George, who was born June 1889, is in a stroller. Since he is so young and the leaves are on the trees, this may be early spring of 1892.

From left:

William Edward “W. E.” Roberts (oldest child of John and Elizabeth) family: wife Mary M. Main, daughters Clara and Maude (dau on right looks a bit older though there are 2 years difference in ages, so may be Maude), William Edward Roberts, and his son Orville.

Mary Jane (Mollie J) Roberts (fourth child of John and Elizabeth) and her second husband Samuel Blount holding their son Harry R.

John Roberts and his wife Elizabeth Ann Murrell.

George A. Roberts (third child of John and Elizabeth) and his son George A., wife Ella V. Daniel(s) holding daughter Ethel Gay.

Orpha & Oca Roberts with their mother Julia French to the right, son Guy L. sitting on fence next to his father, Jason Lee Roberts (second child of John and Elizabeth).

 

Notes, Sources, and References:

1) Family-owned photo.

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Copyright 2014 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

 
We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post, and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.

 

 

Mystery Monday- Jasper Co., Iowa Students, circa 1899?

NewtonKidSoldiers_cropped

Ah, the delightful pictures with no names, no dates, but you just KNOW there is someone in the picture that belongs in your family…

This is another one of those pictures. It was found in with old photographs of the George Anthony Roberts (Sr.) family. After much study of this and other images over the years, I now believe the boy on the left of the picture is George Anthony Roberts, Jr. I do not know the other children, nor why they were in the uniforms they wore, nor why they had the broom handles. I wonder if this had to do with the Spanish-American War? We would love to hear from anyone who can explain this picture.

Georgie and his sisters Ethel Roberts and Edith Roberts attended a one-room schoolhouse just down the road from one of the family farms. Might this be a picture of his whole class?

 

[OK, this Mystery Monday post got published on a Tuesday, but I hadn’t thought of that topic when this was originally published.]

 

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Copyright 2013 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.